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Missing Tortoise Takes His Time Getting Home

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This is a photo of Lance, a tortoise who went missing last weekend but was recovered June 23, 2012. (courtesy: Andy Lechner)

This is a photo of Lance, a tortoise who went missing last weekend but was recovered June 23, 2012. (courtesy: Andy Lechner)

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LOMBARD, Ill. (CBS) – Lance the tortoise, a 45-pound reptile that gave his owners the slip last weekend and disappeared, has been found.

Andy and Susan Lechner told media outlets the 44-year-old African spurred tortoise previously made great escapes from their back yard, but usually ended up hanging out near an alley garbage bin. But on June 17, there was no trace of Lance, leaving the couple to think someone had made off with their pet once he left their fenced property.

Sure enough, a St. Charles resident on Saturday emailed the Lechners and said Lance had been spied in a yard in that far western suburb. Andy Lechner said someone visiting Lombard last weekend found the tortoise in the alley and took him home.

“We were getting to the point that after a week we were feeling he wouldn’t be coming back,” Andy Lechner said.

Instead, the couple picked up the tortoise Saturday afternoon. By early evening, Lance was safe in his own back yard eating clover.

“We put him in log pen in the back yard, and he munched around and explored and now he’s sleeping,” Andy Lechner said.

He said at the top of his list of things to do is to make the back yard escape-proof.

“My priorities have changed,” Andy Lechner said.

Barring any more misadventures, Lance could live to be as old as 120, his owners say.

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